Tanzania to shut part of wildlife preserve to big game hunters
Covering 50,000 sq km (19,000 sq miles), the Selous reserve is one of the largest protected areas in Africa, and is famed for its elephants, lions, black rhinos, hippos and giraffes.
About 8% of the Selous, which is larger than Switzerland, is dedicated to photo-tourism while the rest is a hunting reserve.
Selous Game Reserve is to be split into two. A bigger area of the wildlife sanctuary on the upper side will be turned into a national park where hunting activities are not permitted. A smaller area will remain open to hunters to generate much needed tourism dollars. Tanzania relies heavily on tourism as the major source of hard currency.
South Sudan tries to protect wildlife after long conflict
South Sudan is trying to rebuild its six national parks and 13 game reserves, which cover more than 13% of the country’s terrain, following the five-year civil war that ended last year after killing nearly 400,000 people. A fragile peace deal still has key steps to carry out.
The fighting stripped the country of much wildlife and the parks are rudimentary, lacking lodges, visitors’ centers and roads. There is no significant tourism; the parks department does not even keep statistics on the number of visitors.
Now the biggest threat to the country’s wildlife is poaching, the scourge that afflicts parks and reserves across Africa. The parks are also threatened by encroaching human settlements. Residents already burn swaths of land surrounding the park to clear it for cultivation.
Rangers are working to foster support for the parks among local residents, who sometimes go out on patrol with rangers. The rangers are also working to apprehend poachers or drive them out of the parks.
While progress is slow, several rangers said they are seeing more signs of animals during patrols than they did last year.